JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
The Military and Family Readiness Center hosted Hearts Apart, a quarterly event held in the Chapel Annex, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., March 13, 2018. Hearts Apart is a Military and Family Services initiative centered on connecting spouses and family members of those deployed, at a temporary duty location or individual augmentee service members with resources to ease the stressors of separation.
The proper tools, educational opportunities, skills and support systems, such as those found within the M&FRC, provide a foundation that both military members and their families need to remain resilient and keep the base's mission moving. Hears Apart is just one of those resources available through the M&FRC.
“Some family members may feel a lack of connection with the installation once a spouse or parent deploys because the member is the natural conduit for information,” said Tech. Sgt. Eva Simmons, 628th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness NCO in charge. “These types of events bring the community support aspect to the forefront because at the end of the day, we are all one big family here to support each other and make the mission happen.”
Hearts Apart gives families the opportunity to directly link with wing leadership, Military Family Life counselors, chapel staff, Key Spouses and M&FRC entities to address any concerns or issues they may be experiencing.
“Hearts Apart gives my family a chance to take a break and relax and mingle with other families who can relate to the struggles and hardships we deal with,” said Rachel Gomez, Team Charleston family member. “This event gives me reassurance that everything is and will be alright. Even though we may be thousands of miles away from family and friends, we are not alone and we have people around for support.”
Students from Airman Leadership School class 18-C volunteered at the event. They contributed by setting up, serving pizza, interacting with families and cleaning up the chapel afterward.
“The military has provided my family with the resources needed to flourish and succeed,” said Gomez. “Events like this have given me the opportunity to meet people, share experiences and gain insight. Knowing there are people willing to listen and help out is really reassuring. It’s also comforting knowing my girls can socialize and make new friends with other kids dealing with the same challenges they are.”
To celebrate the holiday, the event was St. Patrick’s Day themed. Children were able to decorate green-frosted cookies, create St. Patrick’s Day masks and play a ball-tossing game with ‘pots of gold’.
“It means a lot to me to take part in things like this,” said Simmons. “I get to link family entities together by providing the necessary access to resources and reassure them their military family is here for them. Of course, I would love to have all of the families of our deployed members attend, but extending this opportunity is a success in my book nevertheless.”